Doug Marrrone has wasted no time in putting together his staff.
The theme to Marrone's staff is a heavy emphasis on Syracuse University and the New York Jets. That is not exactly the first combination of teams that would spring to mind, but after you recognize that these organizations are where Marrone and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine hail from, it does make sense.
The 10 new coaching hires, as reported by Chris Brown at Buffalo Bills.com, are as follows:
Eric Ciano (Head Strength and Conditioning); Donnie Henderson (Defensive Backs); Chuck Driesbach (Linebackers); Tyrone Wheatley (Running Backs); Jim O'Neill (Linebackers); Greg Adkins (Tight Ends); Anthony Weaver (Defensive Line); Brian Fleury (Defensive Quality Control); Samson Brown (Ass't Defensive Backs) and Jason Rebrovich (Defensive Quality Control).
Later in the week, the Bills announced three more hires in Ike Hilliard (Wide Receivers), John Anselmo (Special Teams Assistant) and Hal Luther (Ass't Strength and Conditioning). On Monday, the Bills also announced that they had hired Danny Crossman (Special Teams Coordinator).
From the group of new hires, Marrone worked with Henderson, Wheatley, Adkins, Luther, Anselmo and Rebrovich at Syracuse. Pettine worked with O'Neill, Weaver and Brown at the New York Jets.
Also of note is that Wheatley, Hilliard and Weaver were veteran NFL players. Weaver played with Mario Williams in Houston.
The only coach that is coming back from Chan Gailey's staff so far is Ciano. The rest of the Bills coaches from 2012 were relieved of their duties, but were granted interviews if they wished to remain with the team.
There is no question that head coaches will want to continue working with people that they have already developed some strong chemistry with. In the heat of battle, you want to know how coaches will respond. Marrone and Pettine have worked with the majority of the staff, so there should be a strong synergy with this coaching staff.
From the above list of coaching slots filled, the final coaching opening that remains is for an offensive line coach. Who knows, maybe Bills fan favorite Joe D'Alessandris will get hired after all.
The Bills also revealed that Nate Hackett will wear two hats. He will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
But for coaches like Pete Metzelars (Tight Ends) and George Catavolos (Defensive Backs), they will need to find a new organization.
College All-Star Games Primer
East-West Shrine Bowl
The East-West Shrine Bowl game and the Senior Bowl are both approaching quickly, so Bills fans need to circle some dates on the calendar to get some scouting in before the NFL Scouting Combines begin on February 20.
The East-West Shrine Bowl will be played at 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 19. The Senior Bowl will be held the following Saturday, January 26.
The Shrine Bowl roster for the East team can be found here. The team is led by quarterbacks Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech), Nathan Stanley (Southeastern La.) and Heisman Trophy Award finalist Collin Klein (Kansas State).
If you are a big fan of SEC players, the Shrine Bowl includes 14 players from the conference.
The SEC player on the East team are as follows: Emory Blake, WR, Auburn; T.J. Johnson, OL, South Carolina; Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt; Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida; Dylan Breeding, P, Arkansas; Josh Evans, S, Florida State; Branden Smith, CB, Georgia; Devin Taylor, DL, South Carolina and Trey Wilson, CB, Vanderbilt.
The SEC players on the West team are as follows: Chad Bumphis, WR, Mississippi State; Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M; Josh Boyd, OL, Mississippi State; DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina and Rob Lohr, DL, Vanderbilt.
If you noticed that there are South Carolina and Vanderbilt players on both the East and West rosters, you aren't alone. That is just one of the oddities of these All-Star games.
Russ Lande of the National Football Post is one interested observer attending practices. He wrote that the eight players that seem to be of the most interest to scouts are: Brandon Bishop, S, North Carolina State; Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan; Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech; Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech; Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa; Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; Zeke Motta, S, Notre Dame and Keith Pough, LB, Howard.
Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report is attending Shrine Bowl practices as well. He wrote about nine players that caught his eye this week in practice. Six of them are defensive linemen, including: Wes Horton (USC), Devin Taylor (South Carolina). David Bass (Missouri Western), Mike Catapano (Princeton), Izaan Cross (Georgia Tech) and Will Campbell (Michigan). The article also highlights OL James Jerentz (Iowa), LB Gerald Hodges (Penn St.) and S Earl Wolff (North Carolina State).
One of Doug Marrone's former players will be in the game, and that is safety Thomas Shamarko.
As the deadline passed this week for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft, you have to wonder about the quality and future of games like the Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl. There was a record number of underclassmen that declared this year, so the quality of the remaining senior class for these All-Star games will continue to become more diluted.
The Senior Bowl will be held on Satuday, January 26 in Mobile, Alabama.
The Senior Bowl will have a very heavy SEC feel to the rosters. The Senior Bowl announced that there would be at least 18 players from the conference, and that was before Alabama and Auburn were included. NCAA champion Alabama is sending five players: OL Barrett Jones, LS Carson Tinker, S Robert Lester, TE Michael Williams and LB Nico Johnson.
There are six quarterbacks that are scheduled to see action in the game.
North team quarterbacks: Ryan Nassib (Syracuse); Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) and Zac Dysert (Miami)
South team quarterbacks: Landry Jones (Oklahoma); E.J. Manuel (Florida State) and Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)
Nassib, Glennon, Jones and Wilson are four quarterback draft prospects that have been mentioned in various circles to be draft targets for Buffalo, so they will bear watching. There will be a number of live practices that will air on NFL Network, for those that want to follow along.
The most updated roster we could find for the Senior Bowl can be found here.
Mock Draft Results
From early mock drafts, do Bills fans like any of these ideas for pick at No. 8 overall?
It is that time of year when a bevy of mock drafts will be popping up all over the Internet. To give Bills fans an idea of what the mock drafters are suggesting is a good fit with the Bills pick at No. 8 overall in the first round, here is a sampling of ideas:
ESPN's Todd McShay, Mel Kiper and NFL Network's Charles Davis - Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
NFL Network Bucky Brooks - North Carolina State QB Mike Glennon
NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah - Tennessee WR Cordarelle Patterson
NFL Network Gil Brandt - Georgia LB Alec Ogletree
Draftek.com - California WR Keenan Allen.
The Bills have their first pick at No. 8 overall, but they do not pick again until No. 41 overall in the second round. For what it's worth, in the second round, Draftek.com had the Bills taking Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson with that pick in their latest mock draft.
There has been a lot of activity at One Bills Drive since the start of the new year. Between all of the coaching changes and hires, the earlier news about the new lease for the stadium and all of the scouting that needs to be done, there is plenty for Bills fans to sink their teeth into.